Celebrity can be a punishing friend!


Dumbest pundits in show: Lawrence O’Donnell has always been the dumbest peacock in the show.

During the Clinton years, O’Donnell served as chief of staff to Senator Daniel Moynihan. In 1994, a Clinton staffer said this of O’Donnell: “He's adopted Moynihan's intellectual arrogance, but without the intellect.”

Very little has changed. Last night, O’Donnell spoke with Sanford city manager Norton Bonaparte. Near the end of their discussion, he showcased his failing math skills:
O’DONNELL (4/24/12): On the 3-2 vote today, was one of those votes someone who voted no confidence in the chief?

BONAPARTE: Yes. That was the Mayor Triplett.
Let’s tease out O’Donnell’s question:

Back on March 21, the five-member Sanford city commission voted “no confidence” in police chief Bill Lee, by a 3-2 vote. In response to the vote, Lee stepped aside from his post on a temporary basis.

Yesterday, city manager Bonaparte reached an agreement with Lee by which Lee would leave his post for good. But the city commission voted not to accept this arrangement, by another 3-2 vote.

Obviously, someone who voted “no confidence” back in March had voted to keep Lee on. But O’Donnell had to ask if someone had “switched”—and no, it didn’t seem that his question was rhetorical.

(You can judge this point for yourself. To watch this full segment, click here.)

As it turns out, it was Sanford mayor Bill Triplett who voted “no confidence” back in March, but voted to keep Lee on. And no, this really isn’t illogical or inconsistent, though O’Donnell spent the rest of the segment insisting that it was.

Even worse, he brought on the New York Times’ Charles Blow to discuss these events. Warning: If you want to hate Charles Blow, we’ll suggest that you watch the tape of last evening’s segment.

We don’t know it’s the dumbness or the grinning that we found most offensive. Celebrity can be a horrible friend—and Blow has achieved his measure of fame through his fact-challenged, incompetent punditry concerning the killing of Trayvon Martin.

Last night, Blow seemed to be hugely enjoying himself as he chatted with O’Donnell. But then, Blow never seems to have as much fun as when he goes on the TV machine to discuss Martin’s death.

You can examine his grinning for yourself. In the rest of this post, let’s examine his “logic.”

In his unfortunate conduct concerning this case, Blow is constantly trying to turn Sanford into Black Rock (click here). In his low-IQ novelizations, nothing in Sanford can ever be said to make any sense at all.

So it was when the grinning Blow discussed this latest 3-2 vote. O’Donnell is dumb—but Blow may be dumber. Here’s what the twinned fellows said:
O’DONNELL: Joining me now is Charles M. Blow, opinion writer for the New York Times. Charles, this is as strange as it gets in that town, politically. I just can’t fathom this thing.

BLOW: You say “strange.” I say this is a joke. I mean, this is like “Real City Officials of Sanford, Florida.” It’s like a sitcom or something. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.
O’Donnell “just can’t fathom this thing?” No real surprise there! To his credit, Blow remembered to say that this matter is “tragic”—although, to our jaundiced eye, his grinning said something quite different.

As he continued, Blow tried to explain why yesterday’s vote made no sense:
BLOW (continuing directly): You can’t say, on the one hand, that you vote no confidence and ask the police chief, Bill Lee, to step down and willing to pay him to step down—which I wish I had that job, where you could just not work and get paid your full salary—and then turn around and say, “We need to wait for the investigation to be completed in order to accept a resignation that will actually save the city of Sanford money.”

Those two things just don’t go together. Either you should have waited for the investigation to be completed in order to vote for, take a vote of no confidence, or you had enough to believe that that police chief was not capable of doing that job, which is what they said when they voted no confidence, and be willing to say, “We are willing, as a city, to move forward from this episode with a new management in charge of our police force.”

The fact that they are saying these two competing things is absolutely ridiculous.
We’re sorry, but that’s kind of dumb. Yesterday, Triplett explained his vote; he said he wants to wait for the city’s full probe of the Martin case before he turns Lee out. As everyone surely knows, it’s quite common to have an official step aside on a temporary basis while his conduct is being examined. There’s nothing "absolutely ridiculous" here—and Triplett is the only member of the commission who, in effect, “switched his vote.”

Four of the five members voted “consistently”—and Triplett’s switch is not illogical. Despite that, Dumb and Dumber took this event as a marker of Sanford’s total craziness. If you want to learn to hate Charles Blow, watch how he smiles his Cheshire smile as he fulminates further:
O’DONNELL (continuing directly): You know, my sense of Norton Bonaparte, from the first time he appeared on this program, is that he really is a city manager. He really is trying to manage things in a very, very difficult situation. He seems to do things patiently, carefully, but things that make sense.

This outcome he was trying to achieve makes perfect sense. And then when you take it to the city commission, you find once again one of these demonstrations about what a strange town Sanford can be.

BLOW: Lawrence, you’re asking for something to make sense out of this situation. I mean, this whole thing has never made sense. I think that’s probably the reason we’ve been talking about it for so long. The case doesn’t make sense. The behavior of the police doesn’t really make sense.

The way that they treated George Zimmerman taking him into that police station, from what we saw from videotape, leaning against walls, rubbing your feet on the mat when you walk through the door, none of that makes sense. The idea that he shot and killed a 17-year-old boy who was unarmed, was able to talk his way out of that police precinct that night, doesn’t quite make sense.

I’m not sure that that police department is capable of making sense. And what happened today was that the city commission, and in particular the mayor of Sanford, Florida, basically became the contradiction that the police department of Sanford is by voting no confidence in the beginning and then saying, I refuse to let him go; I`m not ready to do that; I’m just ready to pay him, until the trial is over or until the investigation is over, which makes no sense.

O’DONNELL: Well, that is a perfect summary of where we stand. Charles M. Blow, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Only one person on the commission “switched his vote”—and we’re sorry, but his conduct does make sense. (That doesn’t mean you have to agree with his judgments, of course. The votes of the other four members also “make sense.”) But to the widely grinning Blow, this provided the perfect chance to declare that nothing in Sanford makes sense.

According to Blow, it didn’t even make sense when the Sanford police wiped their feet on the mats that night! It didn’t make sense when they leaned on the walls! And of course, it didn’t make sense that Zimmerman wasn’t charged with a crime that first night.

Sadly, it’s Blow and his possibly dumber host whose analyses rarely make sense. When this case was handed to Florida’s toughest prosecutor, she herself waited three full weeks before she brought criminal charges against Zimmerman. She didn’t charge him with a crime on her first night with this tragic case either!

On The One True Liberal Channel, all the pundits grinned when she did that. They failed to note that she herself didn’t bring charges on the first day, or even in the first several weeks.

To the “Real Pundits of MSNBC,” it was wrong, oh so wrong, when Zimmerman walked away that first night. It was heroism when Angela Corey brought charges—but only after three full weeks investigating the case.

Blow and O’Donnell rarely make sense. Last night, could you see their hearts—and their low IQs—by their incessant grins?

We wish that too: Charles Blow wishes he had “that job, where you could just not work and get paid your full salary.”

Finally something on which we agree! We wish Blow had that job too!


  1. Rube runners and race hustlers are having a big ol orgy aren't they? "Gruesome."

  2. b. somerby says: "Lawrence O’Donnell has always been the dumbest peacock in the show."

    >>> not a chance if somerbys also in it.

  3. I'm gonna call bullshit on the "incessant grinning" thing. Blow is on the video from 4:41 to 7:50, a little over three minutes. He has a "grin" (I'd call it a smile.) on his face from 4:41 to 4:56, from 6:33 to 6:43, and from 7:48 to 7:50. I count that as 27 seconds or less than 15% of his appearance. I was expecting a minstrel performer from the description of Blow's "Cheshire" smile.

    It's not that Blow doesn't make sense. He does. He's just wrong. It's not that Blow necessarily has a low IQ. That hardly seems the case. He's just seems not to have done his homework. And it's not that Blow is "grinning" throughout his appearance. He's not.

    It seems odd that your panel of analysts didn't call attention to your own narrative here. Or maybe they did, and you just ignored their sage advice.

    1. It's like the biblical admonition about the speck in another's eye and the beam in your own. Somerby has been railing other people's narratives and novels for so long he can't see his own.

  4. Blow and O'Donnell come off like idiots in this segment with the overarching consideration being that they didn't know enough about the situation to make a solid judgement. The galling part to me was that they are presumptious, assuming that they have this thing wired when they absolutely do not. Have these morons done a segment on the picture of Zimmerman's bloody head yet? I doubt it, since it doesn't fit with their crappy, unhelpful narrative.

    1. You know, I haven't seen a picture of 17 year old Martin's dead corpse yet either.

    2. Nor has anyone else, but many have seen the pic of Zimmerman's bloody head. Apparently, for O'Donnell and Blow's purposes it doesn't exist. Further, I'll guess that it means that there is a good chance that Zimmerman will walk.
      It's here:
      and here with eyewitness commentary:

  5. "We wish that too: Charles Blow wishes he had “that job, where you could just not work and get paid your full salary.”

    Finally something on which we agree! We wish Blow had that job too!"

    Oh no! Now even TDH has become obsessed with Blow jobs!